SAINT PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee (MNSBHC) Legacy Fund today awarded Saint Paul Parks and Recreation with a $100,000 grant to retrofit several tennis courts at city parks to create Saint Paul’s first Sepak Takraw courts. Sepak Takraw is a traditional Southeast Asian sport that is played over a net and requires players to touch the ball using only their feet, knees, heads and chest – similar to soccer.
The grant is part of the 52 Weeks of Giving campaign, a year-long effort to make Super Bowl LII a statewide event by awarding 52 communities with grants that will help improve the health and wellness of young people in Minnesota.
Sepak Takraw is a popular sport among the city’s Hmong population and is seeing growing participation from the Somali and Korean communities. For decades, the sport has been a staple event at the July 4 Hmong Freedom Celebration in Saint Paul. Saint Paul Parks and Recreation is working closely with local community group Sepak Takraw of USA, Inc., to determine locations for the courts to ensure they are built at parks conveniently located to where 30,000 Hmong Saint Paul residents live.
“Our park system is quite progressive in that we offer recreation options and activities for residents from many different cultures and backgrounds,” said Mike Hahm, Director, Saint Paul Parks and Recreation. “Recreation is more meaningful and fun when shared with family and friends. The Super Bowl Legacy Fund grant will go a long way in making a positive experience a reality for residents in Saint Paul who enjoy this sport.”
Like the city’s public tennis courts, access to the Sepak Takraw courts will be free. In addition to fulfilling a local community need for the specialized courts, the initiative aligns with the National Recreation and Park Association’s pillars to bring health and wellness and social equity to local communities.
“The Super Bowl Legacy Fund is excited to help Saint Paul Parks and Recreation bring the first Sepak Takraw courts to the community,” said Dana Nelson, Vice President of Legacy and Community Partnerships, MNSBHC Legacy Fund. “The 52 Weeks of Giving campaign is dedicated to using the excitement and energy around the Super Bowl to expand opportunities for Minnesota families to enjoy being active, long after the big game is played. We hope these courts serve as one more way for Minnesota’s families to build lifelong healthy habits.”
Mayor Chris Coleman, State Senator Foung Hawj, the Minnesota Vikings and representatives from Sepak Takraw of USA, Inc. joined the MNSBHC and Saint Paul Parks and Recreation this afternoon at Duluth and Case Recreation Center for an event to celebrate the grant dedication that included group play of Sepak Takraw.
“Saint Paul is a diverse community, and it is so important to be able to offer culturally relevant activities and programming to our residents,” said Mayor Chris Coleman. “Thanks to the Super Bowl Legacy Fund Grant, we can continue to grow those offerings with the city’s very first Sepak Takraw courts.”
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